Posted: 12/13/2009

 

Every F—king Day of My Life, Premiering On HBO Dec. 14

(2009)

by Laura Tucker




Film Monthly Home
Archives
Wayne Case
Interviews
Steve Anderson
The Rant
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
The Indies
Horror
Film Noir
Coming Soon
Now Playing
Television
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Interviews TV

Kudos to HBO for naming this documentary with something that says everything we need to know about it. Once we know that it’s about an abused woman who killed her husband and copped a plea for manslaughter, the title just says it all. And they didn’t feel the need to clean it up at all, but left it as is. It’s the kind of line that adds such meaning to the story that it kind of makes you breathe a little more shallowly.

We follow Wendy Maldonado for the four days before she prepares to enter prison to serve a ten-year sentence for manslaughter. The victim is her abusive husband, Aaron. He co-defendant is her 17-year-old son. It’s a look into somebody’s life that is so honest, it’s hard to watch, yet you feel compelled to do so, to understand what brought Wendy to that moment. “Every f—ing day of my life.”

The documentary is filmed nearly entirely in Wendy and her four sons’ words. We don’t hear from the police or the lawyers, but we do hear a little from Wendy’s mother, who was also once an abused woman, and her sisters. We also hear from the judge at her sentencing. It’s clear he’s appalled by what he hears from Wendy and her sons, yet he feels tied to putting this woman and her son in jail for killing this man who had no respect for human life. “Every f—ing day of my life.”

Also included, along with Wendy and her family’s words, is video footage from earlier times in Wendy and Aaron’s life. I don’t think we can call them better times, but it also doesn’t seem right to call them worse times. It’s just earlier. Aaron filmed Wendy when she was pregnant the first time, and there’s no suggestion at all of any violence. The boys are also filmed when they’re all really little, and again, it seems to be a different scene played out for the video cameras. Interestingly, they don’t seem to want to claim their dad anymore, as in their recollections of him, they most always calls him Aaron instead of Dad. “Every f—ing day of my life.”

Wendy and Aaron started dating when she was 15, and eventually she quit school, and they were married by the time she was 17.  She now doesn’t have all her teeth, as he’s knocked most of them out of her mouth. Her friend explained that when they would do things together, Aaron would explain Wendy’s black eyes by saying she had a toothache. She tried to leave, but he would beat her her more and make threats. Yet, the only violence we see this man commit in the footage is his treatment of a deer corpse. He was a hunter, and instead of just dressing the deer as anyone else would do, on camera he’s kicking the crap out of it. “Every f—ing day of my life.”

This documentary on HBO definitely leaves an impression. It suddenly makes you not feel so bad about your own complaints. I just can’t imagine going through life and feeling my only way out is killing the man I married and the father of my kids. As she explains what she did, she explains she chewed “a hole in a cage so you could all get out … All i did was, like, chew off my leg, ‘cause it was caught in a bear trap, and run … get outta there with all the kids.”

Every F—ing Day of My Life premieres on HBO Monday, December 14 at 10:00 PM ET/PT.

Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com



Got a problem? E-mail us at filmmonthly@gmail.com